World-class public service

Implement best-practice productivity and digital capability in the NSW public sector. Drive public sector diversity by 2025 through: 

  • having 50% of senior leadership roles held by women 
  • increasing the number of Aboriginal people in senior leadership roles 
  • ensuring 5.6% of government sector roles are held by people with a disability. 
Young leaders

Why is this important?

NSW has a world-class public service and our focus is to continue to work hard to drive improved outcomes for the people of NSW. To do this we need to adopt best practice and build a workforce of diverse people, which drives creativity and innovation. Having diverse leadership ensures that the NSW Government represents the community, which gives us a deeper understanding of the communities we serve, and enables us to deliver better outcomes. 

Research shows that by valuing workplace inclusion and diversity we see improved organisational performance, employee engagement, attraction and retention of talent and better customer service.

Delivering this priority by 2025 will achieve parity for women in leadership, double the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in senior leadership roles over 10 years, and result in 10,000 more people with a disability employed across the NSW Government sector.  

How are we tracking?

We are making good progress towards building a more inclusive and diverse workplace that enables people of all backgrounds to thrive as public sector employees.




The proportion of women in senior leadership roles has continued to increase since the start of the Priority. We are accelerating our efforts to develop a pipeline of female leaders and remove the obstacles that impede women’s advancement to senior levels. For every 10 senior leadership roles advertised, the NSW public sector needs to recruit six women. 

We have exceeded the target to double the number of Aboriginal senior leaders to 114 by 2025 and will continue to work on initiatives to further increase representation. 

In 2021, the proportion of public sector employees who disclosed having a disability in our HR systems was 2.5%. Achieving this 2025 target is particularly ambitious as disability is multifaceted and complex. We are committed to building strong foundations that will support the public service to be regarded as an attractive employer for people with a disability, with an inclusive workplace culture that fosters talent and allows people to thrive. 


The COVID-19 pandemic has led to unprecedented changes in the way we live and work. The positive results of building a diverse, inclusive workforce were clearly demonstrated in 2020, when the NSW public sector was able to respond to new challenges and chart a course towards recovery.

Remote working, as a result of the pandemic, has also been a benefit for many employees including people with a disability. There is greater awareness and practice of alternative working arrangements, which anecdotally has made a positive impact in terms of reasonable adjustment and flexibility. 

Download the World Class Public Service data information sheet (PDF 216.62KB)

What are we doing?

Women in senior leadership

We continue to support women's advancement to senior levels through a number of initiatives, including:

  • Embedding a behavioural insights recruitment intervention across the NSW government sector, which has been piloted and proven to encourage more women to apply for pipeline and senior leadership roles. 
  • Maintaining one woman on every shortlist with a stretch goal of 50% of candidates shortlisted being female.
  • Implementing flexible working arrangements across the sector. Many resources are available on the Public Service Commission website 
  • including in response to COVID-19 and working remotely 
  • Continuing the implementation of diversity and inclusion KPIs in senior executive performance plans.

Changes made under s.52 of the Government Sector Employment Act 2013 mean that from 1 July 2021, up to 14 weeks paid parental is available for eligible NSW public sector employees, regardless of gender, provided they have primary responsibility for the care of their child. The new scheme will help families to better balance work and family life and enables both parents to care for their children.

Aboriginal senior leaders

We are implementing strategies to attract more Aboriginal people into the NSW public service and creating career development opportunities for our Aboriginal employees. We are also supporting the continued leadership growth of our existing Aboriginal talent through the Leadership Academy Aboriginal Career and Leadership Development Programs.   

We continue to support the NSW Public Sector Aboriginal Employment Strategy. The NSW Public Service Commission is reviewing the strategy to ensure continued alignment with this Premier’s Priority. 

We remain committed to a culturally capable workforce where Aboriginal employees thrive and are encouraged to take up senior roles. The Everyone’s Business training resources will assist in building a trauma informed and culturally capable workforce. The training includes mandatory information about the impacts of past forcible removal policies and practices on Aboriginal communities. It has been developed in conjunction with Stolen Generations organisations and survivors.


We remain focused on Disability employment, in particular linking and mobilising the sector to collaborate and embed practices that have a broad impact across all agencies.

We have developed a significant culture change campaign and a range of tools to support hiring managers and employees with a disability. Each Government agency has committed to implementing a range of initiatives which focus on:

  • inviting people with disability to apply for more roles and then helping them to stay in their jobs longer by giving them the support and tools they need to do their best work
  • building a culture of inclusion across the NSW public sector workforce
  • removing barriers so that our workplaces and spaces are easy to access and use by everyone.

Additionally, a number of Government agencies are participants of the Australian Network on Disability 'Access and Inclusion' Index which is being used to drive better outcomes for people with disability across the NSW Public Sector.

Digital capability

We have developed a Digital and Customer Capability Framework which identifies the critical skills and capabilities our employees need to respond to the changing nature of work and provide better outcomes for citizens.

We have developed learning content and pathways based on the Digital and Customer Capability Framework and are piloting delivery of this learning via a Learning Experience Platform. The platform will enable learning to be available anywhere, anytime so employees can develop digital skills that enable and encourage smarter ways of working.


Using NSW Treasury's Outcomes Budgeting model as a baseline, we have established a suite of measures which take into account how different agencies implement, and report on, best-practice productivity. In addition to employee engagement, agency-specific outcomes were also selected as indicators of improved productivity and performance. These measures will provide insights on where to focus effort.

What can you do?  

Work with us 

The NSW public sector has plenty of opportunities available across its various departments and agencies. No matter what your skills or background, if you’d like to make a real difference in shaping our state’s future, apply for a role with the NSW public sector.  

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